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Lady Warriors claim third Final Four spot after dominating Tigresses

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University of the East showcased an inspired effort in an all-important battle to notch the third seed in the UAAP Season 78 women’s basketball tournament Sunday after beating University of Santo Tomas, 68-53 at the Blue Eagle Gym.

The backcourt duo of Ruthlaine Tacula and Chery Ano-os paced the Lady Warriors in the decisive match. Tacula led all scorers with 20 points and added 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Ano-os added 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.

The Lady Warriors finished with a 7-7 record to clinch the third seed in the stepladder semi-finals while the Tigresses will have to face Ateneo on Wednesday for the fourth and final seed in the Final Four.

UE simply looked like the better, more aggressive team, attacking the basket repeatedly and finishing with a better field goal percentage than UST, 42-24.6.

UE also had a 44-26 edge in inside points, and capitalized on UST’s poor transition defense as they had 15 fastbreak points. UST tried to keep it close using the team’s size, holding a 58-49 lead in rebounding including 26-10 in second chance points.

The Lady Warriors began pulling away late in the first quarter, transforming a slim 15-12 lead into a commanding 29-14 advantage midway in the second period.

Baskets by Tacula and Ano-os anchored an 11-4 start in the third quarter as the Lady Warriors’ gap ballooned to 49-28. UE was able to sustain the margin against a lethargic UST crew to barge into the Final Four.

Maica Cortes had 16 points and 19 rebounds for the Tigresses while Candice Magdaluyo contributed 12 markers. The Tigresses however, did not get much support from their bench, only scoring 10 points.

The Scores:
UE (68) – Tacula 20, Ano-os 18, Mendina 9, Sto. Domingo 9, Ramos 4, Chan 4, Taguiam 4, Francisco 0, Bale 0, Relova 0.
UST (53) – Cortes 16, Magdaluyo 12, Larosa 7, Brillante 4, Anies 4, Penaflor 4, Isanan 2, Gandalla 2, Felisarta 1, Jerez 1, Pernia 0, Rivera 0, Capilit 0, Penus 0, Portillo 0.
Quarterscores: 22-14, 38-24, 54-36, 68-53.

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